Still alive — update and book notes

December 13, 2012

Hey folks. The blog has been dormant for the semester, as usually happens. I plan to do some substantive posts in the near future. It’s been a highly stimulating (spiritually, intellectually, emotionally) last few months, with some rather productive writing/research on my part! Thanks for everyone who still subscribes or occasionally checks-in on the blog. Per usual, I’ve devoured quite a number of books, so here are some of my recent selections:

Serene Jones, Feminist Theory and Christian Theology.

Very good, well-written…but I’m not convinced at her attempt to mediate between essentialism and constructivism (a worthy attempt but ultimately results in a rather hollow presentation of woman). Of course, that criticism is not surprising coming from a guy who basically agrees with both Barth (CD III.4) and Balthasar (Theo-Drama III) on gender…and with Paul (Eph 5).

Hans Urs von Balthasar, Mary for Today.

Some lovely reflections. Probably incomprehensible to most of my fellow Protestants.

Graham Greene, The End of the Affair.

Easily among my favorite novels now. Similar to the profound treatments of grace in Diary of a Country Priest (Bernanos) and Flannery O’Connor.

Stanley Hauerwas, God, Medicine, and Suffering.

Gripping, thought-provoking, but I’m very much not convinced by his resolute non-theodicy.

G. C. Berkouwer, Faith and Sanctification.

Excellent treatment of a tricky subject (well, tricky for Protestants!). Berkouwer is such a well-balanced theologian that it’s hard to ever find anything to dispute.

Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics II.1.

I’m slowly working through this with Professor Currie and a group of Presbyterian pastors in Charlotte. Barth’s skills are even more refined here than in I.1 or I.2…it really blows my mind what he is capable of.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics.

Yes, it is probably better than Discipleship, but they are two very different projects. Discipleship is clearly better suited for the average reader — hence, its greater popularity.

God and friends, Holy Bible.

More than anything, I’ve been doing a concentrated study of the way faith and works are understood outside of the over-analyzed Romans. I am focusing on Hebrews, Ephesians, Colossians, and 1 John. I think the finest summary presentation is in 1 John 4:

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God;but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

19 We love because he first loved us.

Beautiful.

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2 Responses to “Still alive — update and book notes”

  1. […] and easily among my favorite volumes, from the five or six that I have read or consulted. As I wrote a few years ago, “Berkouwer is such a well-balanced theologian that it’s hard to ever find […]

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